Are you a health buff who loves organic products? Do you know the kinds of nutrients that your body needs to be healthy? And more importantly, do you want to share that with others? Then starting a health food business might be for you. You’ll need to delve into the business side of things and accomplish specific legal processes, but if you’re willing to put in the effort, then read on. Here are the seven steps you need to take to start your very own health food business:
1. Do some research
Due diligence is the first step to any business venture. To start, check out your competition. This will give you an idea of how health food companies conduct their business. It might also give you ideas for your unique selling point (USP), which will be helpful later on.
Moreover, you also need to know your target audience. The Balance shares the different types of consumers that purchase organic food. For instance, parents are more likely to purchase organic foods for the health of their children. The same goes for health-minded consumers who prefer organic products over conventional ones. Your goal is to pinpoint whom you want to sell your products to. Because once that’s clear, you’ll be able to plan your promotion strategies around their lifestyle and preferences.
2. Make a business plan
Once you have the data you need, it’s time to build the foundations of your business. A business plan should include your company’s name, business structure, and goals.
It would also be helpful to start thinking of a USP. If you’ve done enough research on your competitors, then you should have a couple of ideas that’ll set you apart. For example, if you’re marketing your business to families with children, then your USP could be offering healthy snacks that children can enjoy. Just make sure none of your competitors is doing the same thing. Deciding on your USP early on makes it easier to pinpoint your business goals and the steps you’ll need to take to reach them.
This is also where you should finalize the products you’re planning to offer. Health food businesses offer a variety of products — there is a wide array of vitamins and nutritional supplements, healthy snacks, organic fruits and vegetables, and more out there. The decision on what to include and what to omit falls to you. Your final product list highly depends on what’s in demand and what your target market wants, so make sure they match.
3. Calculate the costs
After laying out your business plan, you should start counting the costs. This should cover the fees for starting a business and the overhead and production costs for the first few months.
Note that the costs for opening a business differ depending on your business model and the state you’re in. So, let’s say you want to open a limited liability company (LLC). The cost of filing your Articles of Organization, or your certificate of formation, depends on each state. The fee to file this documentation is $100 ($95 for online submissions) if you’re starting an LLC in Indiana, on top of the additional fees for licenses and permits that the state requires. You would also have to pay the taxes which, in Indiana, include sales, income, and self-employment taxes. But if you were to start an LLC in California, the filing fee for Articles of Organization would only be $85 ($70 for online submissions). As for taxation, you’ll be required to pay sales and state taxes, while also paying federal and self-employment taxes. The bottom line is that you should do research on how much filing is going to cost, because it’s going to be different per business model per state.
You should also start allocating your budget to things like sourcing, rent (if you plan to open a physical store), and employee compensation (if you plan to hire workers). This will give you a good grasp of how much money you have and how much more you might need.
4. Acquire the necessary permits and licenses
Much like costs, the permits and licenses you’ll need depend on the state you’re based in. But, generally, you’ll have to get a business license, an employer identification number, permits from food and/or health departments, and a sales tax license. Make sure you have everything you need before moving on to the next step to prevent delays or legal issues.
5. Register your business
The process of registering your business depends on your chosen business model. We already mentioned LLCs, which will require you to register your Articles of Organization. You can also register an Operating Agreement, but this is usually optional. Afterwards, you’ll have to apply for an employer identification number.
As for C-corporations, you’ll be required to pass Articles of Incorporation and a document of your corporate by-laws. Take note that corporations require a board of directors and the issuance of stock certificates to initial shareholders. Regardless of your chosen business model, due diligence can help you breeze through these legalities and focus on operating your business.
6. Choose your suppliers
Now that you have a legal business, you can start prepping for your day-to-day operations. One of the most important things for a health food business is to find reliable and reputable suppliers. Make sure they have the USDA Organic mark, because this is proof that they’re providers of organic produce. And, if you can, sign a contract with a supplier for long-term pricing. This protects you from market fluctuations.
7. Set up and market your health food business
The last thing you need to do is finish up the prep work and officially open for business. If you have a physical store, go through the necessary sterilization and renovation work. And for those with employees, ensure that they’re briefed and that they’ve agreed to the terms of their work.
Once that’s done, you can finally open your doors and start marketing your business! One great way to promote your products is to focus on the benefits of healthy eating. Medical News Today lists ten different reasons why sticking to a healthy diet is good for you. Apart from the physical benefits like improved heart and gut health, it can also improve your mood and memory.
Another good marketing strategy is to open your own website or have dedicated social media accounts that post content regularly. This way, your brand becomes more accessible and more likely to bring in new customers.
For some great ideas on what your business can offer, head to our Nutrition section here on Health Benefits Times. We’ve got a whole list of articles about different foods and their health benefits, so check them out!